IBM Forges Ahead With Linux Plans

SCO's $1 billion lawsuit is not slowing IBM's Linux efforts: Big Blue readies new Linux products, support and services.

The current legal brouhaha between IBM and The SCO Group is not preventing Big Blue from moving forward with its Linux product offerings, support and services.

IBM on Wednesday will announce a new server; a DB2 Linux integrated clustering environment; extended Linux support for the Lotus client and server; as well as three key Tivoli offerings.

These announcements come ahead of next weeks annual LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, where executives from Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc., Red Hat Inc., IBM and Oracle Corp. will give keynote presentations and more than 150 companies will showcase their Linux and open-source solutions.

IBMs new eServer 325, which includes two Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron processors and is designed to run either the Linux or Windows operating system, can run both 32- and 64-bit applications simultaneously, providing customers with flexibility to effectively manage their business. It will start shipping to customers later this quarter and be generally available in October.

"Customers are going to love the price/performance of this box and are going to deploy it because they want 64-bit technology while still having some of their applications on 32-bit. So the backward compatibility offered is critical to them in making any technology shift. Those two features I think will really drive the box," Scot Handy, the director of Linux software solutions for IBM, told eWEEK on Tuesday.

The better price/performance for a single server increases significantly in clusters, so the first customer references for this new server will be seen in big-cluster configurations, he said.

As such, IBM is also announcing that it will deliver its DB2 Universal Database for Linux on the eServer 325, providing customers with native access to DB2s 64-bit database environment while providing backward compatibility with existing 32-bit applications.

DB2 for Linux is the first commercial database software generally available for the Opteron platform. The DB2 Integrated Cluster Environment, known as DB2 ICE, is a new Linux cluster that scales to support up to 1,000 nodes, deployable at a rate of four nodes an hour.

"The real differentiator here is the scalability compared to, say, Oracles 9i RAC, which has a shared disk, shared memory architecture, so they really have trouble with a lot of nodes, and no production configurations beyond eight nodes. Our offering will be supported from two to 1,000 nodes," Handy said.

DB2 ICE is available immediately with pricing that starts at $8,700 for a two-node system including DB2 Express, two xSeries x335 eServers, and SuSE Linux Enterprise Linux 8 or Red Hat Advanced Server 2.1. "Dell has been talking about an $18,000 entry point for an offering that does not include the Oracle database," he said.

IBM is positioning its DB2 ICE solution aggressively against Oracles 9i RAC solution, Handy said, adding that while Big Blue has offered a clustered solution for Linux since 2000, this is a faster, better, cheaper offering with pretested configurations and ISV support.

Next page: IBM extends Linux support for Lotus software.